Even without stars like the suddenly endorsement-rich Kevin Durant, the U.S. men’s basketball team finished FIBA World Cup pool play undefeated. The team completed their pool play sweep last night with a 95-71 trouncing over the Ukraine basketball team.
Durant, Kevin Love and Lamarcus Aldridge were just a few of the players expected to play for the United States in the FIBA World Cup who decided to sit out. Other stars including LeBron James and Kobe Bryant were long known to be sitting this one out.
The remaining NBA talent that filled the FIBA World Cup pool play roster for Team USA still overwhelmed the competition. But it wasn’t without some scares.
Most notably the team lost Paul George to a gruesome broken leg injury, one that will keep him out of the Indiana Pacers’ lineup for at least the upcoming season. Last night against Ukraine Team USA got another scare when starting guard Kyrie Irving hit the floor. He eventually walked off the court holding his back.
Still, the U.S. team managed to beat Ukraine 95-71 in a trouncing that wasn’t as bad as some previous victories but was more wire-to-wire than others. In last night’s game, James Harden scored 17 points, Stephen Curry racked-up 14, and Anthony Davis finished with 12 points.
Though their own their FIBA World Cup pool play record is spotless, the U.S. isn’t yet sure of its next opponent. The final results from Group D in the Canary Islands will determine who the NBA stars play Saturday in Barcelona.
Interestingly, the Ukraine basketball team was coached by former NBA coach and TNT commentator Mike Fratello.
The U.S. team’s average of 104 points per game was not surprisingly the average highest point total of all pool play teams.
As in previous games, the U.S. started out slowly in last night’s game against Ukraine. The team turned it on just before the half, going into the locker room with a 44-32 lead after ending the first quarter down 19-14.